Tennis teams wrap up fall season

by Kourtney Kawano | 11/5/14 2:44pm

11.6.14.sports.womens-tennis_Kate-Herrington

Akiko Okuda ’15 went 2-1 over the weekend, part of Dartmouth’s dominating performance at the Big Green Invite.

by Kate Herrington / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The men’s and women’s tennis teams finished strong at Harvard’s UTR Metro Open and the Big Green Invite, their final weekend of fall season play. The men saw six singles wins the first day and the women finished 15-3 overall, losing only one singles match.

The men traveled to Cambridge for the three-day tournament at Murr Tennis Center that began on Oct. 31, and attracted top collegiate and adult players nationwide. Despite the challenging field, Dartmouth won 11 matches.

“This team has shown a willingness to invest in the process of developing as individuals and collectively as a team,” men’s head coach Chris Drake said. “We have gotten better in every tournament we have played.”

On the first day, the Big Green saw six singles wins from Paul Midgley ’18, George Wall ’17, Diego Pedraza ’17, Aman Agarwal ’18, Blake Niehaus ’17 and Max Fliegner ’18. Midgley was the only player to represent Dartmouth in the first round, where he notched a win against his first opponent, 7-6, 7-5, before falling to Harvard’s Kelvin Lam in the second round, 6-2, 6-2.

The tournament provided good match experience for the winter, Midgley said.

“It was more about focusing on the process rather than the outcome, but the team did well overall,” he said.

The team added four wins on Saturday from Pedraza, Fliegner, Agarwal and Midgley. Pedraza defeated Harvard’s Sebastian Beltrame in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-4, but lost to University of Massachusetts at Boston assistant tennis coach Harshana Godamanna, 7-5, 6-4, in the semifinals.

What was important, Pedraza said, was securing wins for each individual player.

“The team stuck to a certain pattern within their games,” Pedraza said. “That was what eventually gave us a chance to do well.”

Agarwal, playing in Flight B, was the lone Dartmouth player to qualify for Sunday’s final round after defeating Lam in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-4, and after taking down teammate Fliegner, 6-2, 2-6, 10-3, in the semifinals. He went on to win his finals match against the Army’s Alex Van Velzer, 2-6, 6-4, 10-7.

While the men were on the road, the women enjoyed home court advantage. The Big Green went 15-3 overall and dropped only one singles match. On Friday, the Big Green faced the University of Massachussetts and won four matches in singles and split evenly in doubles, 1-1. Taylor Ng ’17 had a close match against Ana Yrazusta Acosta and was ultimately victorious, 7-5, 6-4. Akiko Okuda ’15 defeated Anna Woosley in a similarly intense match, 6-4, 7-5.

The Big Green improved its doubles play on Saturday against the University of Minnesota, winning both matches with Ng and Kristina Mathis ’18 defeating Paula Rincon-Otero and Mehvish Safdar, 8-5, and Okuda and Alexxis Kiven ’18 beating Maja Vujic and Kendall Heitzner, 8-4.

Women’s head coach Bob Dallis said the team performed well.

“None of the points or games lost was given away. Our opponents had to earn them,” he said.

The team finished the tournament on Sunday against Boston University, going undefeated in singles and splitting in doubles, 1-1. Dartmouth took 15 out of 18 matches to finish the tournament; 11 of the Big Green’s victories came in singles play, where Julia Schroeder ’18, Mathis and Ng went 3-0 and won their respective individual matches each day.

“Like our previous tournaments, our team played really well,” Ng said. “Everyone has been successful individually and we’re only going to keep improving.”

Both teams will take a brief break from competition before returning to play in January.

The men’s team will host its first winter matchup with games against the University of Buffalo and Bryant University on Jan. 17 while the women host Boston College.